Autism Spectrum Disorders are believed to be neurological disorders of the brain, typically recognized within the first three years of development. Autism impacts development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills and frequently affects all areas of daily living. It is considered to be a Spectrum disorder that affects each individual differently, and at varying degrees of severity. The Center for Disease Control estimates that the occurrence of Autism ranges from 1 in 500 to as high as 1 in I66 people diagnosed with Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and other pervasive developmental disorders, (PDD).
Children and adults with Autism, Asperger’s, Rhett’s and PDD typically show difficulties in sensory and informational processing, affecting both social and functional communication and behavior. This typically results in difficulty participating in developmental and learning activities, ultimately reducing the ability to function independently in society.
A Pervasive Developmental Disorder, diagnostic manuals describe symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorders as involving mild to severe impairments of social skills, deficits in language and communication abilities, difficulties with motor coordination skills, decreased abilities to perform functional tasks, and “non-purposeful ritualistic behaviors.” Clinical texts provide specific descriptions of symptoms such as having “intolerance for changes in routine, unusual and obsessive preoccupations, a narrowed focus of interest, or a lack of interest in sharing social attention.” They often include clinical terms like “sensory processing dysfunction, dyspraxia, echolalia,” or “stereotyped behavior patterns.” This is useful information for professionals, but most parents aren’t clinical professionals, they’re parents. Parents need to know as much as possible about the best way to help their child. Parent education is, and has always been, a very important part of our Autism Diagnostic and Treatment Program. Individualized parent education, specific to each family, is a part of every treatment plan, and may be provided outside therapy services through available consultation services.
Southern Indiana Rehab Hospital’s Autism Spectrum Program uses a treatment approach developed specifically to address the functional challenges and neurological symptoms associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Clinical professionals apply advanced, specialized knowledge in utilizing a treatment model that incorporates the best of proven practices and latest advances in current Autism treatment. Combined with parent/caregiver input and applied in individualized treatment plans, staff are able to tailor treatment methods and planning to each family’s needs, values, and goals.
Part of the Southern Indiana at Bridgepointe pediatric focus, Autism program services are provided at the Bridgepointe location in a team atmosphere, including Psychological, Occupational, Speech, and Physical therapies. Services may begin with diagnostic evaluation by program specialists, or may be initiated by physician referral. They may include any or all of the above listed therapies. Children participating in multiple services receive the benefit of a team oriented approach and collaborative goal planning that results in multiple therapies, integrated to compliment one another. A parent, for example can work with speech and occupational therapists to determine how a child may best communicate feeding needs. A psychologist and occupational therapist can work with parents to determine how to best address behavioral issues in a way that promotes functional skills while recognizing individual family values and abilities.
Part of a community effort, our program was created, from the beginning to address the needs of families in our community facing the special challenges that are a part of living with Autism Spectrum disorders. Southern Indiana Rehab Hospital currently collaborates not only with Bridgepointe Services, but also with local schools and other agencies as part of a community wide, grant based program to provide additional services, not traditionally covered through third party reimbursement. Autism program professionals currently provide consultation to families, individuals, teachers, physicians, and other professionals as a part of grant related services. Additionally, program specialists also work collaboratively on multi-agency projects, such as planning of future services in our area. This currently includes working on development of an area resource center and working with vocational specialists to ensure long term planning and support that continues beyond the school age years. From skilled treatment services to specialized projects, Southern Indiana Rehab Hospital is working with others to help families in our community to achieve their best.
Before you Choose…
Know that Southern Indiana Rehab at Bridgepointe’s comprehensive Autism Program is among the best. Professional specialists from the only comprehensive Autism Spectrum Program in southern Indiana are available to work with you to integrate recommendations and treatment with family, caregivers, teachers, and physicians to insure optimum and successful functioning of your child in their own environment.
For more information about the Autism Diagnostic & Treatment Program or any services at Southern Indiana Rehab Hospital, please call the Bridgepointe location at (812) 283- 5981 or the main hospital location at (812) 941- 8300 Information on all of the programs provided may be accessed at www.sirh.org.
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